Monday, June 12, 2017


Politico reports that Reince Priebus may be on the way out, or perhaps the president is just humiliating him for sport:
President Donald Trump has set a deadline of July 4 for a shakeup of the White House that could include removing Reince Priebus as his chief of staff....

... but insiders and those close to the president are not holding their breath, given the perpetual talk that Priebus and other senior staffers are on the way out.

Trump’s first deadline for the firing of Priebus and many staffers that he brought on from the Republican National Committee was the 100-day mark.

The president then considered the idea of a Memorial Day shakeup when he returned from the foreign trip, and then most recently, July 4.

"It's become comical that every holiday becomes a referendum on Reince," said one adviser to the president....

[An] outside adviser who regularly speaks to the president said that Trump often threatens employees with the prospect of being fired to motivate them to do better, prompt them to resign, or to use them as an example for other staffers of what it can be like to be on his bad side.

"Trump will literally ask anyone who will listen, 'Do you think Reince is doing a good job?’ or ‘Do you think that I should get rid of him?'" said that adviser, who has been asked that question by Trump.
So will Priebus really be fired? Trump ally Roger Stone reminds us of earlier Trump personnel decisions that appeared bold and forceful, although Stone thinks Trump will kinder to Priebus:
Roger Stone, a long-time confidant of Trump, recalled the firing of former Trump Organization CEO Edward Tracy and Trump Atlantic City Associates CEO Nicholas Ribis as two examples of when Trump made drastic personnel decisions. He likened the firings to Richard Nixon's "Saturday Night Massacre" and called it "sudden."

He suggested that if and when Trump removes Priebus, it will be at an opportune time and with a landing pad....

"Even when he lets him go, he's not going to fire him. He'll just give him another meaningless post. Because it's politics and it looks better that way. There's no reason to offend [Priebus'] friends in the party, so they'll find a much more important job for him."
Stone mentions the dismissals of Ribis and Tracy to remind us that Trump can be a tough guy if he chooses -- except that, in Ribis's case, Trump apparently wasn't the tough guy. In 2000, when Ribis left the Trump Organization, the New York Post reported that it was his idea, not Trump's:

Donald Trump’s debt-laden casino empire has taken yet another hit, with the sudden departure of The Donald’s longtime business brains.

Nick Ribis, 54, who worked with Trump for 25 years, has resigned as the $2 million-a-year president and CEO of Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts, said industry sources....

One industry source said that when Ribis told Trump over the long holiday weekend that he was leaving, Trump fired him.
A few months earlier, Fortune had reported that Ribis was thinking of leaving:
[Trump] may soon be searching for a new CEO too: Recent word is that the highly capable Nick Ribis, tired of having his hands tied by restrictive debt covenants and his stock options several million dollars underwater, is on his way out.
I can't find reports on Tracy's departure from the company, which happened a decade earlier, in 1991 -- although I see that prior to Tracy's departure from the Trump Organization he was "reassigned" to the presidency of the Trump Taj Mahal, a clear demotion. Ribis was Tracy's replacement as CEO, and in 1996 they got into a very Trump-esque squabble:
Nicholas L. Ribis, the head of Donald J. Trump's casino-hotel operations, filed a lawsuit yesterday charging his predecessor, Edward M. Tracy, with slander for saying that Mr. Ribis had threatened his life during a May 4 argument at a Trump hotel.

Mr. Ribis contends that Mr. Tracy -- whom he replaced in 1991 and who now works for another casino company -- has a history of "personal animosity" toward him. The lawsuit says that Mr. Tracy lied in a report he made Thursday to the Atlantic City police, in which he charged that Mr. Ribis had threatened him with "bodily harm and death" during a brief encounter five days earlier at a restaurant in the Taj Mahal casino-hotel.

In an interview yesterday, Mr. Ribis said he was having a late-night dinner with family members and colleagues when he left the table "for about 30 seconds" to tell Mr. Tracy that he was not welcome on the premises because Mr. Trump considered him "disruptive." Mr. Ribis said he made no threat of any kind against Mr. Tracy.
Tracy's complaint against Ribis was dismissed by a couple of judges. I'm still trying to find out how the lawsuit was resolved. In any case, both Ribis and Tracy landed on their feet -- Ribis is now CEO of Resorts International and Tracy is the CEO of the Hard Rock Japan LLC.

But what happened after all this drama in Trump's casino business? Well, you know:
... a close examination of regulatory reviews, court records and security filings ... leaves little doubt that Mr. Trump’s casino business was a protracted failure. Though he now says his casinos were overtaken by the same tidal wave that eventually slammed this seaside city’s gambling industry, in reality he was failing in Atlantic City long before Atlantic City itself was failing.

But even as his companies did poorly, Mr. Trump did well. He put up little of his own money, shifted personal debts to the casinos and collected millions of dollars in salary, bonuses and other payments. The burden of his failures fell on investors and others who had bet on his business acumen.
The personnal changes didn't matter, because Trump did a terrible job, and the results were disastrous -- except for Trump himself, because he made a lot of money.

That's pretty much what's happening in Trump's presidency, isn't it?

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